Vacate and Seal Marijuana Convictions
A citywide effort to vacate low-level marijuana criminal convictions that occurred in Denver before marijuana legalization.
Any low-level marijuana offense committed in Denver, that was based on conduct now legal under current law, including possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana.
This program only applies to low-level marijuana crimes committed in Denver.
Low-level cases involving hemp, marijuana paraphernalia, or marijuana-infused products are also eligible.
If you are unsure if you qualify, please attend one of the clinics. The staff and volunteers will be able to review your case and determine eligibility.
The first step of the process is to fill out an intake form!
You can do this in person when you check-in at one of our four clinics, or you can expedite the process by filling out an online intake form.
The intake forms will help our attorneys determine whether you are eligible for the program and are available in both English and Spanish.
A special team of City Attorneys and District Attorneys will review your intake form for eligible convictions.
Once an attorney has finished the screening, you will be notified of the results of the screening. If you are eligible, you will receive a written motion to sign and return to the attorney.
If you are ineligible, you will be notified that you do not qualify for the program. However, you may consult with a private attorney for further guidance.
In some instances, a screening attorney may need more information to determine eligibility. If this is the case, you will be contacted by an attorney.
if eligible for the program, you will be provided with a copy of the motion to vacate your conviction(s).
You must sign and return this motion to the attorney in order to have your conviction considered for sealing.
A District Attorney or a City Attorney will file your signed motion with the Denver County Court within 1-2 business days. A judge from the Denver County Court or Denver District Court will rule on the motion without a hearing.
The processing fee of $65 will be waived or covered by the program.
The Court will notify you of the ruling on your motion. If your motion is granted, the Court will dismiss the charge, vacate the conviction, and order the record to be sealed.
If your motion is not granted, you will be notified by the Court. You may wish to seek further guidance from a private attorney.
If your motion is granted, the Court will send the order to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). If your case appears in the criminal justice records in their custody, CBI will seal any records related to that conviction. You do not have to pay the CBI fee of $28 to seal your CBI criminal justice record.
If your case does not appear in the CBI criminal justice records, the sealing process is complete, unless your records are in the custody of any other custodian of the record.
You may also provide the court order to any other custodian of your criminal justice records, and the custodian must then remove the records that are subject to the order. Additional fees may apply to have these records removed.
You may apply by attending a clinic, or you may apply online.
Q. Can I have my record cleared if I live outside Denver?
A: If your low-level marijuana offense was committed in Denver, you are eligible to participate in the program. Denver can’t clear low-level marijuana crimes off your record that took place outside of Denver.
Q. What if I was originally arrested for possession of marijuana but ultimately pled guilty to a lesser charge, can I have the lesser charge vacated and sealed?
A. Yes, as long as the original conduct is currently legal.
Q. Do people have to attend a clinic to have their records sealed?
A. No. Although we are hosting a series of clinics, people may also apply online. See online application on main page.
Q. What do people need to have with them at the clinics?
A. People must provide a government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license, state-issued ID card, or U.S. passport.
Q. Why do people need to pre-apply?
A. The pre-application phase is not mandatory, but it can help expedite the process.
Q. Do I need an attorney?
A. No. Volunteer lawyers will be at the clinic to guide applicants through the process.
Q. What happens if someone qualifies?
A. Lawyers from the Denver City Attorney's office or Denver District Attorney's office will write a motion to vacate, dismiss, and seal the prior conviction. They will file that motion in court. A judge will then rule on the case without a hearing. The applicant will then be notified of the decision. If the motion is granted, the applicant's conviction will be vacated and the charges dismissed. The case then will be sealed.
Q. How long will the process take?
A. The motion will be filed within one or two business days. After that, it is up to the judge to decide. We anticipate that most cases will be decided within a few weeks.
Q. What is considered a low-level offense?
A. Any marijuana offense that was based on conduct now legal under current law, including possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana.
Q. Are there any associated costs or fees?
A. Most applicants should not incur any costs. There is a $65 court filing fee and in some cases, there may be an additional $28 fee by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. The applicant will have the opportunity to request the court filing fees be waived. However, while funding is available, the Turn Over a New Leaf program and the Marijuana Industry Group, a TONL program sponsor, will cover the court filing fees that cannot be waived and the fees for the cases that require payment of a CBI fee.
Q. Does a low-level offense, such as a hemp-related conviction, qualify for the Turn Over a New Leaf program?
A. Yes. Low-level cases involving hemp, marijuana paraphernalia, or marijuana-infused products are also eligible.
Q. Will there be non-English speaking options available online or at the clinics and if so, what languages?
A. English and Spanish-language applications will be available online and at the clinics.
Q. Is there a deadline date for low-level marijuana crimes to be expunged?
A. There is no deadline to apply.
Q. This program is being launched seven years after recreational marijuana was legalized. Why now?
A. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana through the passage of Amendment 64. Unlike some states, Colorado does not have a statutory scheme that permits automatic expungement of prior marijuana convictions.
Q. What about Colorado House Bill HB2017-1266? Doesn't that statute address the problem?
A. HB2017-1266 creates a process for sealing prior convictions, but it does not contain a mechanism for vacating those convictions. Denver's program provides a simple and relatively easy process for those who qualify to have their low-level marijuana convictions vacated, dismissed, and sealed.
Q. Why can't Denver vacate convictions in prior cases en masse, as some other states have done?
A. Other states have legislation that permits that action. Colorado's state legislature has yet to enact such a statute.
Q. What about convictions obtained before 2001?
A14. Our date range is 2001 to current because that is how far back the court's computer system goes. However, if you have a case before 2001, please fill out the application and we will do our best to assist.
Q. Immigration Concerns?
A. People with immigration concerns are encouraged to attend a clinic. Volunteer immigration attorneys will be on site.
Q. Who will be the primary beneficiaries of this program?
A. Past convictions may be impacting anyone who wants to work in Colorado's marijuana industry, who may be completing a job application, or who is interested in a career in law enforcement. Wiping these offenses out will benefit those individuals.
Q. What happens after a person's conviction is vacated, dismissed, and sealed?
A. By statute, that person is not required to disclose any information about that sealed conviction. That person may say that he or she "has not been criminally convicted". § 24-72-703(4)(d)(I), C.R.S. (2018).
Q. Where can people send questions not answered here?
A. Questions can be emailed to NewLeaf@denvergov.org.
The dates, times and locations of upcoming clinics are:
Saturday, February 9, 2019
Denver Conflict Center
4140 Tejon Street
Denver, CO 80211
Sunday, February 24, 2019
Denver Park Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church
3385 Albion Street
Denver, CO 80207
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Servicios de la Raza
3131 W 14th Avenue
Denver, CO 80204
Thursday, March 21, 2019
2901 Walnut Street
Denver, CO 80205
Saturday, May 18, 2019
Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club
4397 Crown Blvd
Denver, CO 80239
Saturday, February 29, 2020
9:00am to 1:00pm
Zion Senior Citizen Center
5161 E. 33rd Avenue
Denver, CO 80207
Denver 311 Help Center Call 3-1-1
Outside Denver Call 720-913-1311
TTY Service: 720-913-8479